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Participants to receive mental health treatment combined with supportive housing

INDIANAPOLIS – Adult & Child Health, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit, has announced it has received a $3.2 million grant to serve homeless adults with severe and persistent mental illness who are high utilizers of the Marion County Jail, local hospitals, emergency rooms, and psychiatric facilities.

The grant, awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), provides roughly $650,000 per year for each of the five years. Adult and Child Health will use the funds to provide Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), an evidence-based practice that improves outcomes for people with severe mental illness who are at risk of psychiatric crisis and involvement in the criminal justice system. The Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) has been a critical partner in supporting A&C’s development of this program and is adding additional funding to the program to assure programmatic goals are met.

As one of the oldest and most widely researched evidence-based practices for people with severe mental illness, ACT is a multidisciplinary team approach that combines behavioral health and addictions treatment with assertive outreach to persons in the community. This project is unique, in that it proactively braids supported housing units into the project to quickly house participants and engage them with a mix of mental health, primary care, employment, and other supportive services.

This marriage of safe, affordable, housing and community-based services will break the cycle of homelessness, psychiatric hospitalization, and arrest. Adult and Child Health was assisted by multiple community stakeholders and partners in developing the ACT proposal. In addition to CICF, planning and program development partners include the City of Indianapolis, the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), and the IUPUI School of Psychology.

Launched on April 30, the ACT program will empower persons in Marion County who are experiencing serious mental illness, substance use, and homelessness to stabilize their lives, gain affordable housing, sustain gainful employment, and better manage their illnesses.

“Thank you to the dozens of people who worked hard to bring this opportunity to the Indianapolis area” said Dan Arens, Chief Operating Officer of Adult and Child Health. “We’re excited to see the positive impact we believe we’ll see on the lives of those we serve. This project presents a life-changing opportunity for some of our community’s most marginalized people.”

A&C CEO Allen Brown noted, “This project intensifies the services we’re able to offer high-risk persons out living in the streets. Adding supportive housing to round-the-clock, mobile psychiatric services will get us closer to the goal of zero homelessness. We’re confident this is the right approach and grateful to CICF and SAMHSA for their support.”

Adult & Child Health, accredited by the Joint Commission, is a nonprofit primary care, behavioral health and social services provider in central Indiana. Contact information: Adult and Child Health, 222 E. Ohio Street, Suite 600, Indianapolis, IN 46204; 317-893-0252.

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Sarah Miller, PMHNP-BC

Sarah Miller works with the addictions team, general psychiatry for adolescents and adults, and the competency restoration team. She is board-certified as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Her specialties are working in addictions and with people who experience serious mental illness.

Miller graduated from Indiana University with a psychology degree and went back to school for nursing. She received her nursing degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and worked in a nursing home and also spent time working in a group home with adolescents. She received her master’s degree from Vanderbilt University.

She enjoys hanging out with her family and her two dogs, and going to sporting events.

Joanna Chambers, MD

Dr. Joanna Chambers is a psychiatrist who began seeing Adult & Child Health patients in November 2021. She graduated from Medical College of Georgia with her Doctorate of Medicine in 1996 and completed her residency in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to bringing a wealth of experience, she currently serves as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine where she teaches Clinical Psychiatry. She is certified in Addiction Medicine and has a special interest in treating pregnant and postpartum women. She is President of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry Organization as well as a sitting member of many medical association boards. Recently, she has won the Residents’ Award for Teaching Excellence in 2020 from Indiana University and has received “Best Doctors Award” in 2010, 2011, and 2014. Dr. Chambers is incredibly active in the medical, academic, and research realms of medicine. She is currently accepting new patients on Wednesdays.